Whether you work as a people leader or not, we all need to get results through others in partnerships, businesses, families or friend circles. Ultimately, there are points in our life where taking a coach approach to how we lead and just plain communicate is not only advantageous it’s necessary to get results through others. This is where a coaching leadership style comes into play.
The Coaching Leadership Style
Coaching at its essence is about talking less, listening more, and getting curious.
When we move away from telling people what to do, we don’t send people into fight or flight mode; instead, we engage their rational brain and get more effective and long-lasting results. If there is one leadership skill that lays the foundation for effective leadership, I would say coaching is it.
You don’t need to be a trained coach to take a coach approach. There are three key skills to integrate into your life today, that will change the way people react to you, and perform around you.
Skill #1 – Listen Deeply
How good of a listener do you think you are?
There is listening, and then there is really listening. Most of the time in our day to day lives, we are listening to what’s being said, but we’re distracted. We are multitasking, we are waiting for our turn to jump in or, we are worried about what we are going to say next.
When we are listening like this we may be physically present, and we may even hear the words coming out of the other person’s mouth, but we aren’t really listening. Really listening means listening for more than the words. Really listening means you are not only physically present but mentally present. You have cleared your head, and you are fully there with the other person. You aren’t waiting for your turn to jump in, instead you are listening on many levels, to what is being said, to what is there but is not being said, to tone of voice, body language, choice of words, all of this such l rich information sources that can support you in really listening.
Take this kind of listening on for a full day. Notice the effect that has on how people respond to you; you will be amazed.
Skill # 2 – Ask Don’t Tell.
As simple as this sounds, asking open-ended questions vs. giving someone the answer is actually quite challenging. The reason for this is that we are rewarded both by society and by our physiology to have the answers.
Not only are we seen as capable when we have the answers, but we also get an endorphin kick at the moment of insight, when we come up with a solution or idea.
When you get this endorphin rush you feel good and create a new neural connection, but the person you are talking with doesn’t. By asking more open-ended questions we allow others to come up with their own ideas and solutions which has them more committed to and empowered by the idea itself.
In the coaching question toolkit, there are a variety of questions to play with. As a tip, remember an open-ended question does not have a yes or no answer.
Skill # 3 – Getting Clear on The Outcome.
This one is a game changer. When you and the person you are talking to, are both clear about what it is that you are talking about, and, what the intended outcome of the conversation is, it immediately focuses the conversation and gets both of you on the same page. It also creates accountability that the conversation will move forward in some way.
One of my personal favourite questions to ask right at the start of any conversation is “where do we want to be at the end of this conversation?”
Transform Your Communication
These three skills, Listening Deeply, Asking Open-Ended Questions, and Getting Clear on The Outcome have the ability to transform your communication and your leadership.
I’ve experienced it first hand and I see it over and over again in the leaders I train as coaches. My hope is that you take all three of these skills and create wins in your life.
To get you started, I have developed a Coaching Question toolkit that will help you design questions that put your coach approach to work. Download it below!